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Dracula and Difficulty

"Difficulty" is a word that invariably comes up in discussion of games of any sort. It's a setting in electronic games. It's a skill check in tabletop games. It's the basis for heated arguments about the relationship between creators and players , between accessibility and experience . But, for all of this, can we really define difficulty as it relates to games? It's a term that can mean all kinds of things in all kinds of situations, but, at its core, it's about the way that audiences engage with stories and their stakes. And speaking of stakes... As I've mentioned previously in this blog, I started reading the original Dracula in October out of some lunatic idea of looking at the Castlevania series as an adaptation of the original novel. (Which may still happen someday, who knows what horrors the future will bring.) Life being what it is, it took significantly longer than I'd originally planned and I only finished the book yesterday. While focu
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Right Game, Right People

Choosing who you would defend, or knowing who would have your back when the proverbial dung hits the fan should be pretty easy. When the dice hit the table, who do you want sitting alongside you to help destroy that dragon or make that million-to-one shot against the space station? Your initial reaction might be to name those same people... but is it really going to be those ones you’re already with? We’ve talked before about how you might convince people you know to join a game . For some of us, it really might be the exact same group. For many, however, the answer is probably very different. Why do we pick different people to join us at our tabletops? Have I been gaming with the wrong people? What kind of thought process even goes into deciding who we should game with? These are all very good questions, and this week we’re going to take a look at some potential answers so you can find the right game and the right people. - A A : Choosing your game preferences is a good first step to

Tales of the Extra-Ordinary

We’ve talked before about how gamemasters and narrators can use details to build story. But these details don’t always need to be part of the plot, and are often as much about the worlds the characters occupy as they are the events they’re taking part in. And while we all draw inspiration from our own out-of-game experiences , aren’t people playing games and engaging with stories to get away from everything they have to deal with in the “real world” (such as it is)? What kind of “slice of life” details to build the setting and atmosphere, and what risks bogging things down? And, in collaborative forms of narrative like tabletop roleplaying games, how do we encourage others to share the details of their own characters’ lives in a way that grows the story for everyone? - B B : As I’m sure our readers are no doubt aware, my favorite tabletop game, and the one I have the most experience running, is Paranoia , a game which is as much setting as it is system. Games like this can be somethin

How Can You, Like... Own a Game, Man?

It’s been quite a week in the world of tabletop RPGs, and, while it’s nice to see our little hobby featured in all kinds of media, we would have preferred it be for more positive reasons. Never Say Dice are by no means qualified (or up-to-date) enough to talk about the OGL kerfuffle, but the discussion around it did get us thinking about the nature of ownership when it comes to games. For an activity centered around the participants’ infinite imaginative possibilities, what does “ownership” of a system, setting, or even a session mean, exactly? What aspects of a game are inherent enough to have a brand name, and how much can the people at a table change things up before it starts to feel like something else? - B A : The whole issue seems pretty broad, which is one part of the problem. Even if you only take a quick look at the idea of “ownership of a system,” it gets pretty complicated. Sure, there might be trademarks on specific things like Beholders, Mind Flayers and Displacer Beasts,

Greyhawk: Underworld & Wilderness Adventures

A while back, I was on an expedition in my attic to find my copy of the Bill & Ted comic book as background material for a post... but I found something else, an old roleplaying artifact. The book? Dungeons and Dragons, Supplement 1: Greyhawk (9th printing). A 68-page pamphlet-like book filled with relics of a bygone age. The rules have changed over the years, but taking a dungeon delve into a piece of history can still inform us today. We’ve already looked at the “ Men & Magic ” and “ Monsters and Treasures ” sections in previous posts and discussed a variety of the topics they contained. Now it's time to take a look at the final section of the book, this one entitled “Underworld & Wilderness Adventures,” to find more interesting pieces of history and a little bit of inspiration. What will come from the epic conclusion to the book? A few "new" adventure ideas or an original take on something we now consider to be "classic?" With essentially only a

Never Say Disc: New Year's Eve Edition! (NSDNYEE)

In previous New Year’s posts , Never Say Dice has gathered up the courage to do some self-reflection and spend a little time reviewing and making New Year's resolutions. It might be time to check in on how we did with 2022’s propositions, but this year we’ve decided to take things a bit easier on ourselves. We’ve all had a few rough years, and while we encourage you to make your own resolutions, and will still make some ourselves, we think everyone could use a break. Instead of the pomp and circumstance of New Year's resolutions, how about we take a look at a few things we plan to enjoy in the coming year taking the guise of past media, present media and media yet to come. - A A : Much to my chagrin, Never Say Dice has yet to complete all of the accomplishments I had hoped it would in 2022. I can say, however, that we've made significant progress on those fronts and leave it at that. As far as personal goals, I’m happy to say that I've spent some time playing games wit

Happy Holidays from NSD!

In light of the weather making the holidays particularly stressful this year, we at Never Say Dice thought we would simply share a few gifts we've received relevant to our remit (say that three times fast!). May your own haul be as bountiful - even if you're just buying for yourself this year. Stay safe, warm, and adequately electrified out there... and happy holidays! - B   Send comments and questions to neversaydice20@gmail.com or Tweet them @neversaydice2. Header image borrowed from ournerdhome , give it a try yourself!